Character (Police) Sketches

Studio 360

Have you seen this person?

Maybe in the elevator at work? Or on the elliptical next to you at the gym? Or maybe she'sthe elusive figure hovering in your mind's eye while envisioning Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre? According to this Tumblr, that just might be it.

Brian Joseph Davis is the creator of The Composites, a blog devoted to police sketches of literary characters made using real-deal police sketch software and character descriptions from famousbooks:

Sherlock Holmes in "A Study in Scarlet"

Sherlock Holmes

Tyrion Lannister in "Game of Thrones"

Tyrion Lannister

Nurse Ratched in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"

Nurse Ratched

According to an interview with The Atlantic, Davis got the idea from a reference by crime writerJames Ellroyto "Identikits." In this technique for creating police sketches, crime witnesses identify individual characteristics, like curly hairor a stubby nose, from pictures on note cards. As a witness to great works of literature, Davis realizedthe same techniquecould capture the characteristics of his favorite characters, and the project began.

After a year-long hiatus, Davis has returned to the scene of the crimewith a burst of new composites as well asa brand new podcast about the intersection of crime and art.

Here are somemore composites and the character descriptions used to create them:

Heathcliff in"Wuthering Heights"


His thick brown curls were rough anduncultivated, his whiskers encroached bearishly over his cheeks...A ray fell on his features; the cheeks were sallow, and half covered with black whiskers; the brows lowering, the eyes deep-set and singular. I remembered the eyes...Do you mark those two lines between your eyes; and those thick brows, that, instead of rising arched, sink in the middle; and that couple of black fiends, so deeply buried, who never open their windows boldly, but lurk glinting under them, like devil's spies...Compressing his mouth he held a silent combat with his inward agony.

Tess D'Urbervilles in"Tess of the D'Urbervilles"

Tess D'Urbervilles

She was a fine and handsome girl---not handsomer than some others, possibly---but her mobile peony mouth and large innocent eyes added eloquence to colour and shape...The pouted-up deep red mouth to which this syllable was native had hardly as yet settled into its definite shape, and her lower lip had a way of thrusting the middle of her top one upward, when they closed together after a word...Phases of her childhood lurked in her aspect still. As she walked along to-day, for all her bouncing handsome womanliness, you could sometimes see her twelfth year in her cheeks, or her ninth sparkling from her eyes...a thick cable of twisted dark hair hanging straight down her back to her waist.

Norman Bates in"Psycho"

Norman Bates

The light shone down on his plump face, reflected from his rimless glasses, bathed the pinkness of his scalp beneath the thinning sandy hair as he bent his head to resume reading..."Looking for a room?" Mary made up her mind very quickly, once she saw the fat, bespectacled face and heard the soft, hesitant voice. There wouldn't be any trouble...The puckered lips were beginning to tremble...The eyes behind the fat man's glasses seemed vacant.